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A Tennessee mother has been arrested on drug assault charges after giving birth to a "meth baby" who tested positive for amphetamines.
Mallory Loyola, 26, of Madisonville, admitted to Monroe County sheriff's deputies that she'd smoked meth "three to four days" before the birth of her daughter. The Tennessean reports that Loyola is the first to be charged under a new Tennessee law aimed at mothers of drug babies.
What is this new law, and how does it relate to the meth baby's mother?
Tennessee's SB 1391 was added to the state's laws in May, but it became effective on July 1, 2014.
The law, now known as Public Chapter No. 820, amended Tennessee law to allow the prosecution of pregnant drug users under the state's simple assault law if a child is born addicted, harmed, or even dies as a result of a mother's drug use.
The law allows women in these situations to make affirmative defenses to assault if they joined addiction recovery programs prior to their children's births and successfully completed the programs after the births.
Loyola is apparently the first woman to be charged under this new law, after she and her baby both tested positive for amphetamine at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
A simple assault charge in Tennessee, like most states, is a misdemeanor, meaning that if convicted, Loyola likely wouldn't be facing more than 11 months and 29 days in jail. However, as the Tennessean notes, Loyola has a substantial history of arrests for methamphetamine possession and violation of probation.
According to East Tennessee's WBIR-TV, Loyola had her bond set at $2,000 with a court date later this month; surprisingly, her "meth baby" was reported as "not yet in state custody." There are many legal issues with moms behind bars, and custody and visitation may be the most pressing for Loyola.
However, the New York Daily News reports that Loyola was released on her $2,000 bail after her arraignment. Perhaps she'll get some time with her daughter before the state brings down the hammer.
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